Bridging Worlds is artist Eron Rauch’s ongoing series of in-depth articles on the curious places of connection between video games, contemporary art, and culture.
After a 24 year break from playing Civilization, my friends recently roped me into trying the new Civilization 6. For reference, the last time I had played a Civ game was in 1993. I was 12 and didn’t even have a computer with a color screen at home. After stumbling around the overwhelmingly massive campus of new junior high, my proclivity for reading Dragonlance novels at lunch accidentally made me a new friend who would open the geeky technicolor doors for me.
Let’s call him J.T., and after bonding over our mutual love of 20-sided dice, Robotech, and the number 42, our daily after-school ritual became to head to his conveniently located house. Yeah, it smelled like cat pee, but his mom always brought us nacho cheese dip made with Velveeta and taco seasoning packs so that evened out. But the main attraction was that JT’s family had a full-on computer room in the basement, the lair of a towering beige beast with a massive 15-inch 256 color monitor.
We’d fail our way through Eye of the Beholder’s early stages (too hard); try to pick fights in Star Trek: 25th Anniversary (too boring); and eventually settle into the original Civilization for a long afternoon of mayhem. Nothing could cause more squeals of laughter from us than playing as Gandhi and rushing for nuclear missiles and blowing up the world.